Articles of the year 2009

The Enemy Within
Published on October 10th, 2009

The Kerry-Lugar Bill has stirred a huge controversy, pitting the president versus the rest. This controversy has been triggered by the incompetence of the sycophants surrounding the president, which is symptomatic of a disease that infects all our rulers, and will soon lead to his downfall. It is truly shocking that blunders have multiplied bringing us to the abyss again.

The main support of the government, one being run today by a handful of NRO-bathed bureaucrats, who have no following or vote bank, and are operating on the 'Loot and Scoot' agenda. Their support is temporary, and will vanish at the first sign of a summons from any court. There are many cases waiting to be reopened. These born again bureaucrats have one eye on the courts, and will be on a plane before the judgment is announced. The worst part is that these officers, in extracting their pound of flesh, have stopped deserving candidates from their rightful promotions. Thus affecting all the important bureaucratic posts in the government. This malaise can be very damaging for any government, especially one whose path to power is suspect.

The main charge of incompetence to be laid at the government's door is, the conduct of the expensive lobbyists who were charged with shepherding the Bill through the Congress, and through the White House for the president's signature. It has now emerged that certain clauses were inserted at the behest of these lobbyists, under instructions from their handlers, mainly, we understand, the ambassador himself, to cut down the armed forces to size. These clauses, and the tone of the language has insulted all Pakistanis, regardless of their political affiliations.

What is far more serious is the government's surreptitious attempt to impose its control over the army using the US Congress. This tussle for power using an outside government is a blatant violation of our sovereignty by 'invitation' from our own leadership. This can never be acceptable. Scrutiny of the armed forces is purely a domestic matter, and cannot be subject to any outside influence, certainly not as part of a formal bilateral treaty.

The army has reacted strongly on this issue, for, scrutiny, of army personnel promotions, as stipulated in the Bill, is viewed as a serious violation of our sovereignty. No foreign government can possibly be allowed to interfere in the placements of our officers. In any country in the world, backing of an officer by a foreign country would immediately disqualify that officer, and would lead to his immediate dismissal. This applies to every officer in every country of the world.

This, if deliberate, has given the PPP Ambassador Hussain Haqqani much to answer for in his role. He is already known to be too clever for his own good. But when it comes to toying with the country's pillars, he is on dangerous ground, and will find no support. He had already claimed the glory, as the good shepherd who managed to guide the Kerry-Lugar Bill through the US Congress, no mean achievement. But not a minefield as subsequently discovered. He will certainly be questioned on this aspect.

Worse, the journalists are hinting that Haqqani was not alone, but there were others who assisted. For these Pakistani shepherds to include clauses that would lead to embarrassments to the Pakistani forces is almost treasonous, and would be treated as such. Especially when being tabled in a US Congressional Bill. Assurances were given to the Americans that "we have the numbers," by the shepherds. This has suddenly exploded in their faces, and has exposed the enemy in our midst. It has also united PML-N, JUI-F, JI, and PTI, while MQM has hurriedly distanced itself. With all these forces in a new alliance, it may be time for the PPP to also choose sides, especially where the Pakistan Army is concerned. The insult to Pakistan which is so apparent in the proposed Bill.

The Presidency has allowed its distrust factor to expand, and now include the armed forces. The PPP has never been truly accepted by the army, and now it will be seen as manipulating the US Congress into including clauses that are against the very sovereignty of Pakistan. It is the soldier who lays down his life to protect this sovereignty.

In Washington, President Obama and his aides must be very perplexed, as they were given the impression by the shepherds, and their own State Department officials that every word of the Bill was in consonance with the Pakistani government. So when the sudden and violent reaction hit the newswires, the White House decided to take a second look. Pakistan is now a power centre. General Kayani is the key player today, and with his army they cannot be distracted from their crucial assignment, that has been thrust upon him by geography. I am sure the Americans must be reconsidering their options, and surely any actors that have misled the major players must now be removed before they cause more damage. The Americans are very matter of fact, and take these decisions very quickly.